Does being the biggest mean being the best?

I was looking down the list of the Sunday Times 100 best companies to work
for, and was very intrigued by the results.

Eight factors are rated by employees of participating organisations. These

– Leadership

– Well-being

– My manager

– My team

– Fair deal

– Giving something back

– My company

– Personal growth.

Successful business results appear to be clearly linked with the same
successful top 100 companies in the survey, as they have collectively
outperformed the FTSE by a significant margin over both three and five years.

What can we HR practitioners learn from this then? Well, the top eight
places were occupied by firms with less than 800 employees, and covered diverse
sectors from manufacturing to hospitality, professional services to software
and creativity to voluntary organisations. So while it seems the business
sector is not a predictive criteria for success in this arena, in this case, it
appears that size does matter.

What was striking in the listing, however, was that the big household-name
branding giants – some of which are proponents of human capital management as a
singular management tool – were notably and predominantly absent. If they truly
believe their expensive cloaks of brand values run deep through their
organisations then why not demonstrate this by putting it to the test in an
independent employee driven assessment of performance?

Perhaps the message for big organisations is that in managing their people
and successfully engaging their staff, they must think global, but act local.

In a dynamic business world, where talented people are increasingly free to
choose which company to work for, the Sunday Times survey suggests that the big
organisations will need to work much harder to attract and retain the best
people. As the constant renewal of the FTSE 100 group of companies indicates,
there is no room for complacency for those that currently make the grade. And
for those that didn’t, their current absence from the list or generally poor
ratings in the survey demonstrates considerable room for improvement.

Is biggest best? Not when objectively assessed by the employees, it seems. I
look forward with interest to next year’s entries and results.

By Paul Pagliari, HR director, Scottish Water

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